The Andela Pulverizer, a glass recycling leviathan on loan from Headwaters Recycling Cooperative in Helena, made the 100-mile trip to Missoula at the urging of students in the University of Montana's environmental studies program as a way to show the community that glass recycling is a viable prospect for the future.
The pulverizer debuted as the guest of honor at Sunday's Earth Day celebration in Caras Park, sponsored by the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, to showcase its talents and illumine a community primed for sound environmental solutions.
The student project couldn't have fit better with MUD's green-themed focus of living sustainable solutions, as eager recyclers came out in droves.
From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the pulverizer gobbled odd goblets and greedily devoured mountains of amber-hued beer bottles and empty food jars in the continuously bantered vernacular of culletted glass.
In all, the big blue monstrosity chomped more than 10 tons of shards in just five short hours on duty - glass that might otherwise be thrown in the landfill.
Aubree Durfey, an undergraduate in the environmental studies program who plans to make the project a part of her senior thesis, said she and classmates were amazed at how many people had saved up glass for just such a recycling fete.
“People were bringing big milk crates stacked five high, and filling flatbed trucks with glass bottles they'd been saving at home,” she exclaimed.
But the pulverizer didn't come cheap, Durfey said.